High schoolers learn financial basics on their road to college.

Getting to college can be tough. Upward Bound makes it easier—and so does learning at the State Farm Financial Literacy Lab.

Since 1995, the Upward Bound TriO Program at Florida International University (FIU), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, has been helping high school students who have potential but need additional academic preparation and motivation to succeed in high school and later in college.

This year-round program includes a five-week residency on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus. In summer 2012, 46 Upward Bound scholars lived in dorms, took academic courses, received tutoring and counseling, and participated in fine arts, sports, field trips and group activities.

Students also attended seven one-hour classes at the State Farm Financial Literacy Lab, part of the College of Business.

“Financial literacy is crucial to success so we appreciate the team at the lab designing a course for the students,” said Sofia Santiesteban, director of Upward Bound and Pre-College Programs.

Topics such as credit cards, debt, saving, budgeting, money management, investing and more were covered.

“I don’t want to be naïve about money so these classes were important,” said Arielle Marcelin, a 10th grader from Doctors Charter School. “We learned about credit cards and how to be responsible. Also the information on student loans was interesting, including learning the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans.”

Team keeps the learning lively.

This was the second summer during which the lab participated in Upward Bound, reported its associate director, Shaun Hoyes (MBA ’12), who designed the course along with presenters Justin Garcia (BBA ’12) and Christine Montero (BA ’12).

“We applied financial learning to everyday life for the students and made learning as interactive as possible,” Hoyes said. “The presenters found the right tools to get the point across, including small video clips and demonstrations, and the students were engaged and enthusiastic.”

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